Kuala Lumpur has to be one of the most beautiful cities in southeast Asia. In terms of just the view, the imposing buildings that tower over the landscape can make an impression on visitors. Bangsar neighbourhood and the Petronas Towers, landmarks that define this established region, have pulled the past into the future with modern architecture set against the tropical landscape.
The city is representative of the country’s multi-ethnic, multi-lingual populous in its rich diversity. While primarily a Muslim country, the city works in harmony with people from other religions, and this bodes well for business as well. The culture in Kuala Lumpur is such that it provides businesses with the climate that promotes success. However, to excel at business, understanding the cultural nuances in the city always helps.
Keep reading to find out what you can expect from Kuala Lumpur’s business culture.
Business Relationships In The Community
Like many places in Asia, a lot of business gets done based on connections with others in the community, and this is the case with Kuala Lumpur. The best way to make connections is to build relationships, more specifically, friendships with people before even trying to do business. This is the reason the coworking space is probably a great option for those doing business in the city, as it provides professionals and business heads a platform for building valuable relationships. Joining a coworking space in KL is like creating bridges of opportunity through relationships for your business.
Another nuance of the Kuala Lumpur business community is that family relationships always come before others. For this reason, a common practice is to hire a family member, and while this might be frowned upon in other cultures, it is an accepted practice in the Malaysian community. Ultimately, business relationships are founded on relationships that are created outside the community.
FYI About The Community
Businesses and professionals should keep in mind a few nuances of working in the city. As stated previously, the city – like the country – is a predominately a Muslim one, so when arranging meetings or doing any business, please keep in mind that prayer is of great importance. Furthermore, scheduling business meetings on a Friday is probably a bad idea because it is a religious day, which is usually observed.
Other things to keep in mind relate to business etiquette when at work. Work attire when in meetings can be simply a shirt and tie, suit and tie, or safari suits for men, but to be safe professionals unfamiliar with the client should always dress to impress. Women should also be dressed in proper business attire as well.
Moreover, business meetings can be both formal and informal and can be held in a few places. Restaurants are good places to have meetings, but again, you cannot lose with a meeting held in a meeting or conference room. Other nuances include avoiding alcohol during lunch or dinner meetings because it is considered inappropriate in the predominantly Muslim country. Business cards are necessary and should be handed to recipients with both hands, even though most shake hand with the right one. Finally, while business meetings might begin late, you are expected to arrive on time.
The Malaysian Coworking Space
The coworking space provides your business with the chance to make friendships that can culminate into valuable business relationships. Malaysian coworking spaces are similar to others operating in and around the Asia-Pacific market in that they provide an impressive social calendar, or at least some of the better ones do, and they have other attractive perks including your standard beverage bar, and in some cases, places to shower and change.
By Suzanne Elly
who is a blogger, content marketer and editor with experience in a diverse range of industries. Her work has been published in various blogs, websites, and magazines on the web. Suzanne has in-depth experience writing on business and marketing topics in Asia, North America and Europe. When not writing, Suzanne can usually be found voraciously reading or caring for her three kids, Whinney, Adam, and Alex.